Guru Nanak's Mool Mantra - Its Rhyme and Reason

This is a Mool Mantra (also spelled Mul Mantra) in a 18 beat cycle.  This is from the Guru Nanak's Elemental Meditation album (iTunes, Spotify) which was recorded as part of a year long 550th birthday celebrations for Guru Nanak. I published this 18 beat cycle Mul Mantra in an album and just looped it to make it 1 hour long. 

Lyrics and Translation 

The translation on the screen is simplistic at best; the true meaning of the Mul Mantra comes clear only through long-term meditation. I have probably posted dozens of translations of the Mul Mantra - they are meditations that change color depending on the season of the mind. 

While most folks think there is no rhyme in the mool mantra, I believe there are very deliberate and interesting internal rhymes. If you follow these rhymes, you actually get a 3x3 cycle which is ideal for meditation in my opinion.  The first two lines rhyme in the end; and the end of the third line rhymes with the beginning of the first line making it a perfect cycle to be repeated.  For this reason, I have divided the mool mantra in this unusual way; this again is part of my discovery project on Guru Nanak. I do believe he used to sing it like this: 

Ek Oaʼnkār saṯnām karṯā purakẖ 
nirbẖao nirvair akāl mūraṯ 
ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsāḏ. 

एक ओँकार सतनाम करता पुरख 
निरभौ निरवैर अकाल मूरत 
अजूनी सैभं गुर प्रसाद ॥ 

One Vibration, True Name, Ultimate Doer 
Fearless, Foeless, Timeless 
Constant, Self-Existent, Guru's Grace

Alternative Translation 
One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. 
No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, 
Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace ~ 

More on Mool Mantra

It is said that the Mul Mantar was the first composition of Guru Nanak Dev Ji - however, some say it was one of his final compositions that he did at Kartarpur. The Guru Granth Sahib has 32 occurrences of the Mool Mantra - once at the beginning, and once each at the beginning of each of the 31 raagas in the Guru Granth Sahib. 

Ik or Ek - There is ONE(Ik) reality, the origin and the source of everything. The creation did not come out of nothing. When there was nothing, there was ONE, Ik.

Onkaar- When Ik becomes the creative principal it becomes Onkaar. Onkaar manifests as visible and invisible phenomenon. The creative principle is not separated from the created, it is present throughout the creation in an unbroken form, 'kaar'.

Satnaam- The sustaining principle of Ik is Satnaam, the True Name, True Name.

Kartaa Purakh- Ik Onkaar is Creator and Doer (Kartaa) of everything, all the seen and unseen phenomenon. It is not just a law or a system, it is a Purakh, a Person.

Nirbhau- That Ik Onkaar is devoid of any fear, because there is nothing but itself.

Nirvair- That Ik Onkaar is devoid of any enmity because there is nothing but itself.

Akaal Moorat- That Ik Onkaar is beyond Time (Akaal) and yet it is existing. Its a Form(Moorat) which does not exist in Time.

Ajooni- That Ik Onkaar does not condense and come into any birth. All the phenomenon of birth and death of forms are within it.

Saibhang- That Ik Onkaar exists on its own, by its own. It is not caused by anything before it or beyond it.

Gurprasaad- That Ik Onkaar is expresses itself through a channel known as Guru and it is only its own Grace and Mercy (Prasaad) that this happens.

I found the following from BBC interesting: 

PunjabiEnglishMeaning
Ik OnkarThere is only one GodGod is One, though there are different paths to experiencing the one God.
Sat NaamTruth is his nameGod’s name is Truth. God is True. Naam can be compared to a jewel or treasure.
Karta PurkhHe is the CreatorGod caused the universe and everything in it to exist. God keeps the universe going, sustaining it.
Nir BhauHe is without fearGod has no rivals. God is sovereign. Nothing can harm or threaten God.
Nir VairHe is without hateGod loves creation and judges fairly.
Akaal MooratHe is immortal, without formGod is not tied down by time. God is beyond time. Time is God’s servant, not God’s master. God is neither male nor female.
AjooniHe is beyond birth and deathGod was not born (unborn) and will not die.
SaibhangHe is self-illuminated (self-existent)God is not dependent upon anything. God just is.
Gur ParsaadHe is realised (made known) by the kindness of the true GuruA person cannot get to God by their own efforts. God has to open their eyes first. God offers this knowledge freely, by grace, so that someone who dedicates their life to learning and understanding God through the teachings of the Gurus can come to know God.

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